Private Project

A Soldier's Passage

Tom Williams, a 93-year old decorated World War 2 Veteran, meets some of his greatest challenges as he nears the end of a long life. He and his son, Paul, find there are powerful lessons still to learn about themselves and each other as they both steer through the difficult days.

  • Paul Ingles
    The Weeds in Our Own Backyards
  • Paul Ingles
    The Weeds in Our Own Backyards
  • Paul Ingles
    Key Cast
    "Paul Williams"
    The Weeds in Our Own Backyards
  • Fred Schwab
    Key Cast
    "Tom Williams"
    The Weeds In Our Own Backyards
  • Janelle Lovin Mancha
    Key Cast
    The Weeds in Our Own Backyards
  • Paul Venable
    Key Cast
  • Gregory Nye
    Key Cast
    "Don Daley"
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    2 hours 22 minutes 44 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 17, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Mindfield Film Festival
    United States
  • Royal Wolf Film Awards
    Los Angeles
    United States
  • Pinnacle Film Awards
    Hollywood Hills, CA
    United States
  • 2019 New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase
    United States
Director Biography - Paul Ingles

Paul has been in broadcasting since 1975 and has experience as a producer, news and sports reporter, recording engineer, editor, on-air personality, consultant, trainer and manager. More recently Paul has been training as an actor and doing independent filmmaking.

Paul has worked at radio and television stations in North Carolina, Washington, DC, Ohio and New Mexico. More recently, as an independent radio producer, he has filed reports for NPR as well as numerous other public radio programs.

He has produced radio programs on music, popular culture, literature, media literacy and other topics that have been distributed either by NPR, PRI or independently to public radio stations around the world. His programs include a series of well-received specials on the history of The Beatles as well as documentaries on Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin and others. Paul is also the producer of the Peace Talks Radio series.

Paul is president of both Good Radio Shows, Inc.(a 501(c)(3) non-profit) and Cedar Creek Studios, Inc.

Paul was also under contract with NPR for 11 years as its Liaison to Independent Producers. Producers are encouraged to contact him with any and all questions about maneuvering through the public radio universe as an independent.

Paul's radio awards include the 2003 Edward R. Murrow Award from the RTNDA for Best Use of Sound in a piece produced for NPR's Living on Earth. He has also won two NFCB Golden Reels for his feature and news reporting for NPR, in addition to many Silver Reel and Special Merit Awards from NFCB. He won 4 awards in the 2008 New York Festivals Competition.

His chief projects now are long-form music documentaries that have been aired by scores of stations across the country and the public affairs series called PEACE TALKS RADIO which presents conversations about peacemaking history and nonviolent conflict resolution strategies for daily life.

The acting bug bit him around 2010 and he stated taking performance classes at Albuquerque’s Sol Acting Academy. In 2016, he released a film short which he wrote, directed and starred in called THE WEEDS IN OUR OWN BACKYARDS that won notice at several film festivals.

He plans to submit the feature-length version of A SOLDIER’S PASSAGE into film festivals this summer and fall. Already, excerpts from the film have won awards from several film competitions.
His current project is a documentary called NOONTIME LEGENDS about the UNM faculty and staff group of basketball players who have been playing together regularly for 15 years and more.

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Director Statement

A Gift to a Father… and to all…

“Watching my dad take his very last breath, was the most profound thing I’ve ever experienced.”
~ Paul Williams (played by Paul Ingles) from the film A Solider’s Passage

That line sums up the motivation behind my creating and starring in this first full-length feature film project, A SOLDIER'S PASSAGE
The film is the mostly true-to-life reenactment of the final months of my own father’s life, a former World War II veteran. John S. Ingles was widowed at the age of 88 when his wife of 60 years, and our mom, passed away, leaving him to finish out life’s ride alone in an assisted living community in North Carolina. My dad died July 5, 2016.

In my mildly fictionalized script, my father's name becomes Tom Williams (played by Fred Schwab), my character becomes Paul Williams and my real-life older brother (John) and younger sister (Betsy) also take on new names in the film as Steve and Jane (played by Paul Venable and Janelle Lovin Mancha).

The film tracks the 9 months from the fall of 2015 to the summer of 2016 when Tom, now 93, begins to see his health slide after some fainting spells at the retirement home and subsequent visits to the hospital.

“I don’t think I get better in the hospital,” says Tom at one point. “I think I get worse.”

The three adult kids, spread out across the country, have differing opinions about whether to place their dad in hospice care with 24/7 Home Health support, something Tom is adamantly resisting. A long-planned trip to Australia for Jane and her family forces a decision on his care.

I wrote the script largely from my point of view as the one able to spend the most time with my dad in those last months, as both of my siblings hold down full-time teaching jobs and couldn't visit Dad as often. The core of the film are the parallel conversational paths of my character - meeting with his Albuquerque therapist Don Daley (played by Gregory Nye), and having heart-to-heart talks with his father.

I’ve been telling folks that the film is a cross between the very talky cult classic MY DINNER WITH ANDRE and TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE - another film about life-lesson sharing between generations. Our film's subtitle is “Conversations from the Last Mile of the Long March Home.”

My father was in the midst of a very active life-review in those final months. I was humbled at some of the things he chose to share with me. I wanted to be conscious about being as good an end-of-life companion as I could be, so I was talking it over a lot with my therapist in real life here in Albuquerque. He was a huge help to me as was my partner Susan (played as "Samantha" in the film by Carolyn Kuehn).

I hope that the resulting story is a good primer for families who might be trying to manage similar transitions with the elders in their lives.

In some ways, it’s a totally ordinary story. But if movie-goers are patient with it, I think they will walk out with a lot of useful ideas about how to talk their aging loved ones through these challenging times at life’s end. AND how to be present and appreciate the truly beautiful moments that can still happen as a death unfolds in front of them. It’s not something that has to be feared or avoided. The death-witnessing experience can reveal a path to a better life for those who are left to carry on.

Our film was shot largely at Albuquerque’s La Vida Llena retirement community, which generously provided spare rooms as sets for the production. Over 50 La Vida Llena residents volunteered as extras. Over 40 local actors had credited roles in the movie.

The film’s title, A SOLDIER’S PASSAGE, comes from the title of a memoir that my father wrote in the mid-1980’s about his experience as a First Lieutenant in Patton’s Third Army at the Battle of the Bulge and in other European action towards the end of World War II. My dad was awarded both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service, but he chose not to make the military his career, instead going into business as an executive with the phone company in the Washington, DC area, where we grew up.